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Digitisation drive is the way forward and 100 times better - NLA to lotto marketing companies

BY: Emmanuel Bonney

Lotto Marketing Companies (LMCs) have called on the government to overhaul the operations of the National Lottery Authority to help save Ghana from losing revenue.

They said the government should stop the current NLA’s collaboration with Keed Ghana Limited (KGL) and Texstart, arguing that it was through the operations of those firms that the NLA was losing revenue.

It said the operations of the two firms, for instance, had rendered over 50,000 members of the LMCs jobless, and that it was time for a serious reorganisation of the authority to reposition the NLA to enable it to generate the needed revenue for the state.

The Chairman of the Greater Accra Region LMCs, Mr Justice Ampiah, said this in an interview with Graphic Online in Accra last Thursday after a meeting among the members.

LMCs

Mr Ampiah questioned why KGL would come out to bail NLA when the market was the authority’s, adding that because of the dire situation of the NLA, common products like paper roll used for work was also in short supply.

“KGL should be stopped, and the 5/90 being handled by Texstart (a private facility) be withdrawn from the VAG machine. The banker-to-banker too must stop. We want to see some prosecution to allow the business to grow,” he said.

Mr Ampiah said there was the need to review the NLA’s law to allow for a representation of the LMCs on the Governing Board to enable it to make inputs into the operations of the NLA.

He said the law omitted the LMCs from the board although LMCs remained key stakeholders.

“Another problem we have is with the governing structure of the place. When Act 2006 was a bill, it appears the receivers did not make input into it. Meanwhile, in taking decision, the board must include the major stakeholders.

“Now, if you look at the NLA board, you have representatives from the National Fire Service, Attorney General’s Department and others, leaving out the LMCs. Without the money there would be no NLA but they have been omitted,” he said.

Interim action

In the interim, Mr Ampiah said the LMCs must be co-opted onto the board to make suggestions until the Act was amended.

An executive member of the LMCs, Mr Kwaku Antwi, said they were not afraid of competition, and that if anybody or firm wanted to sell NLA products, they should join like they (LMCs) did “by pre-financing the operations of NLA by buying credits and sell them”.

“So all the companies should come in just as we are also doing, so that we all go out there and sell so that when there are wins they would be taken care of by the NLA the same time,” he said.

NLA’s reaction

But the Public Relations Officer of the NLA, Mr Razak Kojo Opoku, said the contributions of KGL exceeded the contributions of the LMCs by over 100 times, and that the operations of the firm (KGL) was in line with the government’s digitisation drive.

“Government is looking for revenue. Our core mandate is to generate revenue, so if someone is paying you money, over GH¢30 million annually, can the LMCs do that?

“You see the country is moving forward towards digitisation, and the KGL’s initiative is a government policy, and the NLA is moving in that direction so we need to digitise some of our products; we cannot create a monopoly for a group of people,” he said.

Mr Opoku agreed that there were some issues that needed to be looked at regarding Texstart , saying management was going through the process to address the challenges with the service provider.

“The NLA must look into the Texstart contract, operation and how it had conducted its business over the period . The NLA must look into that to create a level playing field for the technical service providers.

He explained that while LMCs took commission from the authority for the sale of its products, while it was rather KGL which paid commission to the NLA, and questioned: “So in terms of value for money who is helping the NLA?”